Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2016-2017 - 61
panel equipment of the digital era, the increasingly
dominant glass-cockpit system . So varied are the
digital options that aircraft owners and pilots can opt
for electronic instruments that mirror and mimic the
original analog gear .
With thousands of aircraft owners still weighing how
to meet the Federal Aviation Administration's mandate
for ADS-B Out in most U .S . airspace by the start of
2020, it feels safe to say that the coming years should
bring a lot of work to avionics and maintenance shops
- a need sure to inspire many aircraft owners to weigh
additional improvements in their panels .
The most-popular options often
occupy less space than the
analog six pack of flight
instruments while presenting all
the same six indications - plus
the ability to display navigation
and powerplant data within
the borders of the same single
Or they can opt for a
combination of solutions,
particularly the primary flight
display - an instrument displaying
all the indications represented
by the venerable analog flightinstrument six pack: airspeed;
vertical speed; altitude; direction
via the gyro compass; turn indication;
and the attitude indicator .
Glass companion options offer moving-map
displays, weather and traffic, all the engine
instruments - oil pressure and temperature, fuel
pressure, fuel level, voltage/amperage, cylinder-head
temperature, and exhaust temperature .
For those unable to afford a full cockpit makeover -
and that seems to be a large cross section of owners
- progressive upgrades prevail .
By making partial upgrades periodically, the aircraft
owner must clear a lower bar for funding the desired
upgrades . Gotta start from somewhere; and the gains
are still there .
Setting the end-game goal
Planning such a progressive upgrade path should
begin with a view to the end game . Where does the
aircraft owner want this progressive upgrade process
to end? And with what in the panel?
Defining the primary purpose of the upgrade can
help bring order to the planning process .
For example, if the partial-panel upgrade is to beat
the FAA's Jan . 1, 2020, deadline for equipping with
ADS-B Out, no need to invest a lot of agony over the
flight instruments .
Conversely, if the avionics are nearing the
life limits, yet work as they are, the goal may
be satisfied with a six-pack upgrade of one
type or another .
For many aircraft owners, the answer
usually encompasses a little of both; they
want some digital flight instruments
in the six pack and some
enhancements in the avionics
Identifying a plan based on the
operator's needs and ultimate
outcome for the upgrade helps
the aircraft owner identify
the specific goal, gain a cost
estimate for each step and a
total . It also can help the avionics
shop craft a logical process that
avoids unnecessary or redundant steps
along the way .
They pick: Flight instruments
versus radios and gauges
The answers vary from pilot to pilot, aircraft to
aircraft, varying by the missions flown, or the use of
the aircraft . Does the pilot want to ditch the spinningContinued on following page...
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